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Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church, by Thomas J. Reese



The Incredible Book of Vatican Facts and Papal Curiosities: A Treasury of Trivia, by Nino Lo Bello



National Geographic - Inside the Vatican (2002), a DVD



All the Pope's Men: The Inside Story of How the Vatican Really Thinks, by John L. Allen Jr.



Vows of Silence : The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, by Jason Berry and Gerald Renner




The Conclave is now held in the Vatican, though the Cardinals are empowered to assemble elsewhere if they think fit. Several large suites of apartments are allotted for the accommodation of the Cardinals and their attendants, who, together with a large staff of Conclavists, or officials employed in various ways are shut in by a door which bears four locks; two on the inside, the keys of which are kept by the Cardinal Camerlengo, and two on the outside, which are controlled by the Marshal, Prince Chigi.

In this magnificent chapel, above the altar of which is Michael Angelo's famous Last Judgment, said to be the greatest painting in the world, the Cardinals assemble for the election of the Pope. They are seated on thrones arranged round the chapel, and their balloting papers are received in a chalice on the altar.

The rooms are divided by temporary partitions into cells for the Cardinals, each cell having an outer apartment, which is occupied by a chaplain or other attendant. When it is remembered that a large number of persons are thus enclosed—in 1878 there were nearly two hundred and fifty—it will be apparent that the task of housing them all is no light one.

Temporary cells used by Cardinals during the election
Temporary cells constructed thus are erected in the Vatican for the accommodation of the Cardinals during the Conclave.

In addition to the chaplain and personal attendant that each Cardinal brings with him, there are a sacristan with five sub-sacristans; a secretary with two assistants; a prefect and five masters of ceremonies; two physicians and a dispenser; several barbers; a number of cooks and domestic servants; and a few masons, carpenters and plumbers, in case of any repairs being urgently needed.

On the day for opening the Conclave, a Mass of the Holy Ghost is sung in St. Peter's, a sermon preached, and the Cardinals enter the Vatican in solemn procession. The Veni Creator is sung, and they then take the oath to observe the Apostolic constitutions, after which they go to their cells, which are assigned to them by lot. All the other Conclavists then take oath not to meddle in the election nor reveal any secrets that may come to their knowledge.

Vannutelli brothers, possible choices for the 1903 Papacy
T. E. Cardinals Serafino and Vincenzo Vannutelli, two brothers who may receive a majority of the votes at the next Conclave.

Later in the evening the bell rings, and the order, "Extra omnes!"—"all outside"—is given, after which the door is locked by the Camerlengo from within and the Marshal from without. The Camerlengo and three other Cardinals then make a tour of inspection throughout the building to see that everything is in order and that no strangers are present.

The door of the Conclave is that of the Sala Regia, at the top of the Marshal's staircase. All other doors giving access to that part of the Vatican have been previously walled up. Beside this door are four turns, similar to those sometimes seen in the walls of kitchens, through which correspondence and food are passed. One of these turns is closely guarded by bishops, another by prothonotaries, the remaining two being in charge of prelates of the papal tribunals.

The Cardinals are at liberty to receive letters on personal or family matters, but not communications bearing upon the election. To ensure the observance of this rule all correspondence passing through the turns, either from within or without, is read by the guardians, unless it is marked "Private," in which case it goes direct to the Secretary of the Conclave, and is read by the chiefs of orders—certain Cardinals who are responsible for the direction of each day's business—who, if they think fit, may read it to the whole college.

Newspapers and books are admitted without restriction, and a Cardinal may go to the turn to speak to anyone, but only in the presence of its guardians.

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